OK, so it’s that time of year again. Have you gone into the scary attic/basement and pulled out the boxes with the ornaments and the tree skirt and the little Santa knick-knacks you’ve collected over the years? No? Best get on it. Christmas will be like yesterday already before you know it.
So last year I made some front door swag décor on the way cheap. It cost me ZERO dollars because I already had the majority of the supplies on hand. If you made yourself that front door swag? Well, you’ve got most of the goods you need. All you have to do is go buy a metal wreath frame from Hobby Lobby (or your closest craft store) for $4.99 and you’re set. Go online and print out their daily 40% off coupon and DUDE, so cheap! Oh, and I learned that if you forget the coupon, you can pull it up on your phone and just read off the coupon code to them. Awesome, right?
Last year, I used the branches we cut off the bottom of our tree as the swag. I remembered this when I got our tree this year so asked the Christmas Tree Man if I could have the ones he cut off. He encouraged me to help myself to the growing pile of them behind his little Christmas Tree Shed. SCORE! When I went behind his little shed, I saw a ton of little pine disks that he’d cut off the bottoms of other trees. I asked if I could have those as well. He cut up some extra for me from a little trunk that was lying all lonely and abandoned. He was a very sweet Christmas Tree Man.
I have no idea what I’m going to do with the disks, but it seemed like the right thing to pick up, what with me being the occasional crafty sort and all. If you’re thinking of a rustic-y type wedding, now is the time to go a-collecting.
Some facts about this little project:
- It takes a few hours.
- It’s a little messy. Pine needles everywhere and your hands get all sappy and gross. I did it in the garage and I’m happy I did.
- If you’re over the age of 35, do NOT sit on your garage floor all day doing this because your back will scream at you in protest the next day. Loudly.
So here’s how you do it:
1. Metal Wreath Frame: I got the biggest size because they were out of the next size down, which is what I would have preferred. I didn’t want to run all over town looking for it though, nor did I want to wait until Friday when Hobby Lobby’s restocks their shelves. So there you go.
2. Garden Shears: Or just some big-ass scissors that can cut through small branches and floral wire.
3. Floral Wire: You need a bit of this so go ahead and commit to the biggest spool out there. Mine was from last year too.
4. Floral Tape: Skip it unless you want the back of your wreath to be all pretty. Even then, I’d say skip it. I didn’t realize I wouldn’t need it until mid-process.
5. Branches, plus any decoration stuffs you want to add to your wreath: bows, balls, ornaments…whatevs. You’ll need about 5-6 really full sized branches for a wreath this big. Less for smaller wreaths, naturally.
- First, cut yourself a shit-ton of wire lengths, about 4”-5” long. You’ll need them to wrap the branch bunches and to tie them to the frame.
Cut a lot more than this.
- Start cutting branches to make small groups of branch bundles. Don’t overthink this. The only thing you really want to make sure of is that your bundles aren't too big/long.
- Make sure the pretty sides of your branches are facing up (the greener side).
- With a length of floral wire, wrap the bundles tightly.
- As you create your bundles, lay them on the wire frame to see if they look like they are a good size. Adjust if needed. Keep making bundles.
- Once you have enough bundles to cover the frame, start wrapping them to the frame with more of the floral wire pieces. Slightly lap one bundle over the next, with all the bundles going in the same direction.
- There are other instructions out there that use one long continuous piece of heavier gauge wire to do this. I say no to this, because it doesn’t give you the freedom to move or adjust them later.
- I wrapped the bundles to the inside two wires of the of the wreath frame. I was not neat, precise or very Martha-esque about this at all. You shouldn’t be either.
- Once all the bundles are tied to the frame, decide whether or not if you think it’s full enough.
- Decide if you want to decorate it further. If not, you’re done. If so, keep reading.
- I wanted to add in some other sort of greenery to my wreath. Last year I used what I thought was dead/dried rosemary blooms. Turns out it was lavender (duh). I didn’t want to repeat last year, so looked around my yard for something else to stuff in the wreath. Guess what? I have a holly bush right outside my front door! Score! I cut myself off a few branches, but my sad little holly bush would have looked like a skeleton of a bush had I taken all I needed.
Step 6 (optional)
- Look around your yard some more. Note that the neighbors have not just a holly bush, but THREE holly trees. Note that your neighbors are never home. Steal their holly.
- OH, YES I DID.
- Scurry back into your garage and pretend you did nothing wrong.
- Create little mini-bundles with your stolen holly (or other greenery).
- Tie your stolen holly or other greenery to the edges of your wreath. I alternated between the outside and inside edges so that it would look somewhat random. This step is a pain in the ass because the other bundles are in the way and holly has pokey leaves that hurt your hands. This is God’s wrath upon you for stealing your neighbor’s holly. Deal with it.
- Take any smaller, leftover branches you have and stick them into places where your wreath may not look as full as you’d like. No need to tie these on, just make sure they are stuffed in there good.
- Add on any bows or fancy decorations.
- Hang that sucker up. As you’re adjusting your bow and perhaps tucking in more branches, waive hello to your neighbor’s boyfriend who was indeed HOME when you stole the holly. Try not to shit your pants.
I made the bow with old ribbon and a stapler. Seriously. Piece-o-cake.
The awesome thing about this wreath is that after the holidays are over, all I have to do is snip the wires on the back and chuck the pine bundles. SAVE THE WREATH FRAME because then you can do this again next year for even cheaper.
I think for $5 less the 40% off coupon, plus the rush of stealing from my neighbor made this a worthwhile endeavor. Be prepared for retribution if you do decide to steal from your neighbors. Karma is a bitch.
How about you? Thoughts on the DIY activity here, thievery notwithstanding? I think it’s a bad-ass wreath.